Zverev storms into second round at US Open

Reuters/New York
Filed on September 1, 2021 | Last updated on September 1, 2021 at 12.16 am
Alexander Zverev of Germany hits a backhand return against Sam Querrey of the United States. (AFP)

Belinda Bencic breezed past Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus

German Alexander Zverev got his bid for a maiden major off to a smooth start by beating American Sam Querrey 6-4 7-5 6-2 in the first round of the US Open on Tuesday.

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Querrey kept the match close through the first two sets but was stymied by unforced errors as 2020 runner-up Zverev kept his game comparatively clean and fired off 25 winners.

The world number four went in for the kill in the third set and with the fifth game secured a double-break lead with the momentum squarely in his favour, never facing a break point himself during the entire match.

In a showdown between two six foot six inch (1.98-metre) power servers, Zverev’s consistency proved critical and he won 90% of his first-serve points compared to 70% for Querrey, who fended off three match points in the seventh game but was nonetheless defeated in a brisk one hour and 40 minutes.

Olympic champion Bencic cruises into second round

Belinda Bencic, playing with a new found sense of freedom after winning a gold medal in the singles competition at the Tokyo Olympics, breezed past Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus 6-4 6-4 to reach the second round .

Bencic, who reached the US. Open semifinals in 2019 and sat out last year’s tournament amid the Covid-19 outbreak, used a solid service game to improve to 3-0 all-time against the left-handed Rus.

Asked in an on-court interview what pleased her most about the win, Bencic, who did not face a break point during the 90-minute match, replied “Definitely my serve.

“She (Rus) is a great player, she makes it really hard for me to play against her, the typical lefty game, and I’ve played a lot of lefties in the last couple of matches so I was a little bit prepared.”

Pliskova rolls into second round

World number four Karolina Pliskova fired off eight aces to defeat American wild card Caty McNally 6-3 6-4 in the first round as she bids for an elusive maiden major.

Pliskova, the 2016 runner-up, built up a 5-1 lead in the first set before her 19-year-old opponent settled her nerves, and hit 10 winners in the set compared to two from McNally, before breaking the American’s serve twice early in the second.

McNally, who made it to the third round at Flushing Meadows a year ago, bounced back to level the score at 3-3, with the crowd in Louis Armstrong Stadium cheering her on, but could not match Pliskova’s power as the Czech closed out the match with a pair of aces.

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